An unpredictable MotoGP™ qualifying has seen Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) secure his first front start of the season. The double Moto2™ World Champion has had a tough year so far since swinging his leg over the KTM, but hard work and persistence are beginning to pay for the 29-year-old.
Speaking after his first front row of 2019, Zarco stated: “It’s a huge emotion, almost too much emotion for qualifying. But it’s great to take it, true conditions in Q1 were great for me but it was not easy because I had to push a lot for the last lap to get first position and go into Q2, and then Q2, the first lap was pretty good. And after that it was a question mark whether I change to slick tyres or not.
“Marc did it and he took the time and he has been able to be faster on the last lap. I didn’t feel for me it was possible for me to improve with the slick, so I tried with the rain tyres to do it again and why not improve? But no, too much limit, maybe too much dry (track), anyway I’m pretty happy to be on the first row.
Going on to talk about the tough times he has been enduring this season, the Frenchman said: “It’s helping to have happiness. Helping overall tomorrow to see what we can do, try to have a good start and try to lead the race if I can, this will be the best information we can take for us, for the technician. And today was a special day.
“In dry conditions, we are still struggling a lot, we don’t find a solution, we can’t put our finger on the right things to give me the right feeling. At least I’m still fighting and it’s an example today that when there is an opportunity, I can still take it.”
Zarco has been strong at Brno in years gone by and will look to be right in the mix again, in the opening stages of the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky.
“Staying at the top as long as possible. We cannot dream, we can see on the Friday the pace is not there so yeah, take this opportunity,” said a pragmatic Zarco. “There will be nobody in front of me and I will manage everything as possible to lead.”
KTM Motorsport Director, Pit Beirer, spoke of his delight: “With Johann this was the best practice we’ve had since he’s been riding with us. He got a feeling with the bike, he could push, he could go faster lap after lap and get confidence with the bike. I know it was raining, terrible conditions, but it was positive. So why not?”